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Improve Vocabulary (27 September): Saudi King Allows Women to Drive.

Saudi Arabia IELTS PTE Vocabulary.jpg

A view of a Saudi Arabian beach. Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The following news is copied from the Guardian. To read the complete article, please click here.

Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted the right to drive, overturning a cornerstone of Saudi conservatism that had been a cause célèbre for activists demanding reforms in the fundamentalist kingdom.

Overturn (v): To overthrow; turn upside down. 

Cornerstone (n): Something that is essential, indispensable, and basic.

Conservatism (n): The tendency to preserve tradition and customs.

A cause celebre: An issue that leads to controversy, heated debates, and protests.

King Salman ordered the reform in a royal decree delivered on Tuesday night, requesting that drivers’ licences be issued to women who wanted them. Following the decree, women will no longer need permission from a legal guardian to get a licence and will not need a guardian in the car when they drive, said the new Saudi ambassador to Washington DC, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Decree (n): A formal and authoritative order.

Guardian (n): A person who guards and protects.

“I think our leadership understands our society is ready,” he told reporters.

Asked by reporters if Saudi Arabia planned to relax the guardianship laws, or take any other steps to expand women’s rights, Salman would not comment. The US state department welcomed the move as “a great step in the right direction”. The decision comes amid a broad reform program that last week led to women being allowed into a sports stadium for the first time. It is the most significant change yet to a rigidly conservative social order in Saudi Arabia that has strictly demarcated gender roles, and severely limits the role of women in public life.

Rigidly (adj): Not flexible; Unyielding.

Demarcate (v): To mark or determine the boundaries of something.

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